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Day #5 Staff Pilgrimage: Airport Cue

by Alex, Nottingham.

So today was the last day of the staff pilgrimage, I really didn’t want to go home – the time we have spent here has been unforgettable. We have tasted some seriously amazing food and met some characters. All the hard work we put into the Nottingham restaurant and the fact that my colleagues voted for me Liam and Leaton to go was really touching. I can’t thank everyone at Red’s enough for the experience they have given me.

Today we began the final journey home, driving from Tennessee all the way back to Birmingham Alabama. The journey was beautiful as always – experiencing the American landscape with 4 great guys and some feel good tunes was something I shall always remember. Matt was in the back helping Scott navigate and keeping up to date with the football. We wanted to hit one more joint before we got on the plane, so we chose Saw’s Juke Joint as our last destination.


It being so close to the airport helped too, being in a bit of a rush we scrambled in and ordered a take away, downed a few beers while we waited and headed to the airport to check in.

We dropped off the hire car, checked in and dug in to the take away ‘cue – the smell totally filled up the check in lounge, and we had airport workers passing us by asking what we had and where we got it from.


The smell might have been great but the food was even better, the best of which was the pulled pork and chicken, the best we had yet. The chicken wings doused in white sauce were a favourite for me, a tantalising balance between a spicy kick and mellow sauce. Wing perfection. This was the last supper of the pilgrimage and it did not disappoint. Every bit of it was delicious and even though we had eaten so much BBQ over the past few days, we still got stuck in with a few cheeky beers from the Good People Brewery to wash it all down.

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Saying that, I think we over estimated our hunger a little! Not one to throw away or waste any food we thought it would be rude to put it in the bin. We bagged it up and passed it on to an airport walker with a few beers, this guy was really happy to receive a huge bag of ‘cue and a few beers, welcoming and polite hospitality till the end. We had to get a move on and catch the flight from Birmingham, Alabama to Atlanta for the final leg of the journey.

Arriving at Atlanta, nobody was heavily questioned or strip searched, and seeing as we had a little wait we hit the bar for pre flight food and beers. This was an ideal place to end the trip. The first bar we hit when we got into the states, so it just had to be the last. Obviously the que from earlier didn’t fill us up so we ordered a few pizzas to keep us going for the 8 hour flight we had ahead of us, suitably intoxicated, feeling a little sad to be leaving we stepped onto the plane and waved farewell to the land of barbecue.

Just want to say one more time from all 3 of us, thank you to absolutely everyone who made this trip possible. Especially Scott Munro and Matt Snell, to you guys I’m eternally grateful and you’ve given us all the trip of a lifetime we will never forget.

Forever BAR-B-Q. Forever Red’s.

Day #4 Staff Pilgrimage: Huntsville to Tullahoma

by Alex, Nottingham



Yesterday was just incredible – the best day I have had in such a very long time and I’m sure the same goes for everyone else! The best activity any of us have done. We started the day, as always with a real good Southern breakfast, this time at The Blue Plate Cafe. Plenty of super thick pancakes with fruit, chocolate chips, icing sugar and nuff maple syrup.

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Seeing the ‘country fried steak’ on the menu just topped the meal. They roll a piece of steak in a spiced flour rub and deep fry the shit out of it. Obviously. It’s like meaty Colonel Sanders ribeye served with French Toast and gravy… This can’t be breakfast I hear you scream. It is and its seriously tasty grub. This was the highlight of American innovation. Good coffee and juice kept us furled and ready for the road trip up North of the border.

We jumped in da ride headed over to Edz Wingz in Feyetville.


The location was pretty unique – imagine Deliverance meets The Waltons and the atmosphere inside this joint was true to the feel of authentic Bar-B-Q. This backwater shed welcomed us Brits and fed us heartily. This place was definitely a highlight for me just because of the proper old skool 60’s Formica design with bad electrics and tired refrigerators. To be fair the food was pretty average, but it was definitely great to experience a proper wreck off the beaten track.


We then crossed the border into Tennessee. When driving through Lynchburg, you gotta go to the Jack Daniels Distillery,right!? Drink a Lynchburg Lemonade to, right? Well that is partly what we did. We drove up to the distillery, parked up and checked in the visitor centre for a taste of the good stuff. But guess what? Lynchburg is a dry county! That means you cannot sell alcohol in the city limits, so you can’t drink a Lynchburg Lemonade in Lynchburg! Absolutely outrageous.

It was still a really awesome experience to visit the distillery and learn about the biggest brand of whisky on the globe. You can’t just come to Lynchburg and not see the place, more knowledge to share with our loyal customers. Scott treated himself to a massive bottle of Jack Daniels Sinatra Select that was distilled to celebrate one of whiskey’s biggest fans, The Sultan of Swoon.


Right, here it comes. The friggin’ skydive, at an airstrip in sleepy Tullahoma. Just to build it up a bit… There was a risk of thunderstorms which would have grounded the plane and we wouldn’t have been able to jump. Most of us were pretty excited but equally very nervous. Liam on the other hand was absolutely bricking it!! So, at the news of the storms, I think he was secretly a little happy it might not happen. Fortunately it was appearing to all be good, and the green light was given by the manageress, Leslie. Bye Mr Jack, we gotta jump out of a plane!! Hit the road and let’s do some crazy s**t we will never forget. Everyone was as always super friendly at Skydive Tennessee, helped calm some fluttering tummies for sure.

Matt & Scott were up first, harnessed and furniture securely moved to the centre of the room (that’s what these guys say to make sure your manhood doesn’t get crushed when the chute opens, from 100mph to 5mph in around 3 seconds!). If you haven’t arranged, it’s going to hurt. Us 3 lads waved farewell to our captors and they climbed onboard. This was about to be one hairy experience for two bosses, as they were climbing to altitude in the shitty plane, a storm hit and just as the jump door opened, it started to piss it down fog rolled in. “Do you still wanna jump, the rain really hurts!” asked the instructor. Matt looked at Scott with a concerned, yet chubbier face and then the instructor. “Let’s do it” said Matt. The jump door opened and they were primed to jump, as the first jumper got into position, the pilot shouted back pointing at a cloud that looked like Hurricane Katrina (that’s what Scott and Matt claimed anyway) “ABORT JUMP, ABORT JUMP” went the calls, so Scott had to shuffle to the front of the plane and shut the door and pull the girl in who was half hanging out! That’s some Die Hard sh*t right there! They were going to have to land the plane – the instructors class this as bad luck as it’s actually safer to jump out than it is to land in the plane! Crazy right.

Safe to say by this point we were pumped and wanted to jump so hearing we may not be able to do it was really lousy! The rain was hammering it down, but blue skies in the distance gave us hop – lo and behold it cleared up. “ALL SYSTEMS GO!”. Matt and Scott went up and successfully jumped! Wooooo! We drove out on to the air field to meet them as they came down, never seen 2 guys with smiles this big and as happy. No time to chat as it was time for us 3 to jump! As soon as the plane landed we were loaded in. Nerves were all over the place. Still super excited though!

The plane climbed to 14,000 feet. When that door opens and the air rushes in dude, it gets you super pumped! Leaton was up first! We all shuffled to the door, held tight by our tandem instructor and… WOOSH, Leat flew out the door into the sky. I was up next, shuffled, hanged my legs outside and down we went. Liam being the most nervous was being filmed the whole way down (you guys will see the video soon!). We free-falled for a massive 60 seconds, popped the chutes and took it in the groin for about 6 minutes. As soon as we touched down in the ground we were all buzzing, the best experience of my life. I think Liam was just happy to feel grass on his face.


Great timing because minutes after a super storm brewed up and the rain was lashing down. We had some ups and downs on the lead up, but luckily we got the chance to jump and I will never forget it. Oh and for the second time this trip Leaton threw up after his feet touched the ground. Apparently his instructor likes to do that to jumpers who are prone to motion sickness.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, after an experience like that it’s time for beer and bourbon, and more BBQ food of course. We headed to Wild Buffalo Wings – this place was pretty slick and well corporate! With all the booze ordered we got stuck in to some seriously good appetizers. 4 different types of sauced wings, some of the best fried pickles I’ve tasted and a couple of other real good sides. After a couple more drinks, it was time to go and find a place to take five and get ready to hit the bars for the night, when asking locals where was good they had a few suggestions but apparently there is no UBER’s or taxis, yes that’s right, a town with no taxis running at night! We had to figure out what was in walking distance that we could go to… Applebees it was then! More beer, tequila shots, and of course top up our bellies with some interesting Cheeseburger Egg Rolls, mozzarella sticks and Sriracha shrimp.

We walked back to the hotel through the wet streets of Tullahoma and caught some zeds in the awful “family” room we managed to book last minute….

Day #3 Staff Pilgrimage: Birmingham to Decatur

by Alex, Nottingham

You’ve got to start every day with a hearty breakfast right? So before we headed north we heard about a place called Salem’s Diner. As soon as we walked through the door you experience that famous southern hospitality, everyone is so friendly, this place was a true American diner.


This place is known for its Philly Cheesesteak – according to some people it’s better than what you can get in Philadelphia. One of the dishes on the menu was appealingly titled “Trashcan”. This was a mish/mash of everything, sausage patty, hash browns, chopped onion, cheese… with a “lid” of over easy eggs.


You get the picture, this stuff was really good. Remember the Philly Cheesesteak? We ordered two to share because we can’t visit this place and not try the best of the best! An order for 2 went in, 5 came out! Definitely didn’t have the stomach capacity for that, a few bites was enough though to realise how immense this Philly Cheesesteak was though. Liam ate his, mine and 1/2 of Scott’s. We had a trashcan for breakfast and Liam proved to be a human trashcan himself!

Time to head north. We jumped in the car and headed up to Decatur. On our way north we passed a road side BBQ shack, Little James Bar-B-Q. It looked pretty cool so we had to drop in, mainly just to escape the discomfort of the unevenly distributed air conditioned SUV (caused by the driver thinking he’s funny). Rather than escaping it, we just moved into the insanely hot smoker room at the back of this shack. This place housed some serious smokers which we toured with the lady manager.

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The heat and the smell hits you so fast, but she didn’t know what wood they used for their ‘cue, and they only smoke during the day which seemed odd. She said they cook their butts until 7pm, but close at 8pm. Ehh! Anyway, we grabbed some food and hit the road, heading over to a swimming hole in Guntersville state park.

Garish swimming shorts adorned, we released the bellies amongst the local college kids who clearly frequented this area more than we had. They were scaling cliffs to jump 20m into the bottom of the river. Rising to the challenge, one or two of us pale Brits managed a circa 5m jump rocks into the water (Scott tells me it was at least 10m!…). I was too much of a pussy to do that crazy stuff. Matt tells me his jumps were higher than everyone of us us. Such bravado.


This swimming hole was a thing of natural beauty and needed to cool us down as the temperatures were in the mid nineties. We sat down, soaked up some sun and enjoyed the ‘cue we grabbed earlier from Little James, soaking in the beauty of the American landscape. We didn’t manage to get any photos of the grub from Little James. And rightly so, it was awful. The ribs were mullered and wet, the beans way too sweet and the pork dry as a nun’s…

Spending more time driving about was actually really amazing, getting the chance to see more of Alabama and taking the long back roads for all of us was a true highlight. The perfect soundtrack from 21 Days Under The Sky keeping us in good spirit, (if you’ve not seen this film, go watch it right now or find the soundtrack).

“You can see why the Americans love their country”. – Scott Munro

Before we could hit the last joint, Matt had “tummy trouble” and needed some pharmaceutical assistance from the drive thru at a WallMart. We were about to hit the last BBQ joint of the day, Big Bob Gibson’s.


This was exciting for all of us, alike to the other joints we had been told great things about this place. Scott has his cook book, so he wanted to get there and get stuck in. Continuing tradition, a little bit of everything, the best bits and the speciality plates. The best dish? The greens mixed with ham hock, beautiful bitterness to them. The absolute best yet. However they paled into insignificance compared to the Brunswick stew (we have our own take on it in our Let There Be Meat recipe book) cooked fresh on site with them making 15 gallons a day!


Paul, the manager, took us in to the smoke room which was like Disneyland for us. They had 3 chicken and rib pits which had been built in with the restaurant back in ’75 – imagine the taste that these bad boys deliver. To complement this they then had an additional 3 smoke pits for everything else. It was AMAZING! Paul’s ‘cue knowledge really was something else, one the bits we took from our chat with him was how to smoke brisket with Sasafras (root used to make root beer) so that you end up with with amazing tender brisket that tastes of root beer… yes, we will be trying this in Red’s.

All the days eating had been done, time for beer and bourbon! As the elders hit the beds we young ones hit the bars for live music and a few drinks. We some interesting people and I’m pretty sure a guy named Chris tried to get Leaton to go back to his house in Maddison… apparently he had spirits and beer we could have. We passed on that and walked back to the hotel for some shut eye.

Seriously enjoying this trip and today has been incredible. The views, the food, the people and of course the drink.

Can’t wait until tomorrow.

Day #2 Staff Pilgrimage: 4 cue joints

by Alex, Nottingham

Oh man, what a day! Cramming in 4 BBQ joints and a brewery in one day was always going to be a pretty awesome challenge and everyone was up for it.

With some pretty heavy heads, we grabbed breakfast in Demetri’s BBQ as our first stop of the day. I’ve never had breakfast like this before, this place was seriously cool.


We all grabbed something different including huevos rancheros and brisket n’ biscuits, but the bacon and cheese grits were a new experience for me that did not disappoint. The bacon was nothing like I’ve had in the U.K. Really crispy, salty bacon that did the belly and mind good. This impressed Liam, as he apparently doesn’t like “droopy” bacon. This grub was to be the cure for most of our hangovers – the multiple free cups of coffee helped too, like.

So with one joint down and 3 to go, after breakfast we jumped in our massive Lincoln Navigator with drop down skirts and on-board Spotify and headed over to the highly recommended Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q. You could see this place from down the road by the smoke coming out the chimney – suppose that’s a good sign, right?!


Ornamental pigs adorned absolutely every cabinet and flat surface here! This joint was the real deal, the authenticity and the soul within these 4 walls just makes you feel like you’re in the right place and exactly the right time. Going all in and pretty much getting a bit of everything, we dug in deep. The smoked sausage was that perfect balance of smokiness and fattiness, all pretty good ‘cue, but the real highlight was the feel of the place – really classic joint. Scott managed to get into the smoker room, ranting that they were hot roasting directly over hickory. They then cloche the meat with huge lids to “smoke” their meat. That way they get that crispy texture to the chicken and ribs.


After hitting up Miss Myra’s we drove over to Jim ‘N’ Nicks… now compared to Miss Myra’s this place is just so different! Not in a bad way, but definitely a different atmosphere. As always we got a bit of everything including some fried catfish, which was a first for a few of us. Some more tasty chicken wings (but not as good as the ones from Moe’s!). The brisket was very lean, so we asked for some fatty, and they obliged. Way better and moist as f@&k! The highlight was undoubtedly the mini cheese biscuits (warm, bready scones) with whipped honey butter.


After a cheeky nap/Euros game, we gathered and headed over to Good People Brewery for some beers and a brewery tour, welcomed by Lauren – their PR and social media babe. She sorted us all out with beers and gave us all the information we needed to know – walking round the brewery was a real privilege to see behind-the-scenes of a brewery that produces some of the tastiest beers we’ve had on the pilgrimage so far. They truly were good people.

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Final joint of the day was the long awaited Dreamland – some of the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever tasted! Before we ordered, they dropped a loaf of white bread and warm BBQ sauce on our table. The idea was to dip the bread in the sauce while you wait. Clever idea and it works!!


Continuing the tradition of not wanting to miss out on anything, we just got everything. Some truly incredible salty spare ribs, sweet and smoky sausage. Scott recommended that we started with a banana pudding dessert, this way you can try a dessert before you fill up on loads of delicious ‘cue. Really great start to the meal, all washed down with some great beer.

It’s also safe to say that our very own giant, Liam is capable of eating half his weight in meat. Where does he put it???

No late one for us this evening. We were all tucked up in bed by 10, with heady dreams of more amazing low and slow pulled meats ahead…

Day #1 Staff Pilgrimage: Birmingham, Alabama

Each year we jump in a RV and take a road trip Pilgrimage across the southern states of America. We explore and discover. Meet and learn from the world’s best. Eat ‘cue five times a day, and return to the UK with bellies full and a stack-load of new ideas and dishes.

After winning an internal competition, three of our circle of staff in Nottingham have flown over to the spiritual home of true barbecue to experience it all first hand.

After an eventful first day, Alex (bartender) has penned a blog. Check it out below.

Day 1, Birmingham, Alabama

Wow, what a wicked start to the staff pilgrimage!

We were so excited for the first ever Red’s staff BBQ Pilgrimage. Surprisingly, we all managed to get on the plane to Atlanta, from there we would catch a connecting flight to Birmingham, Alabama.


Atlanta is where the fun began. Scott and myself were accused of being a homosexual couple by border control and Leaton (kitchen staff) was pulled in for questioning and a cheeky cavity search (we suspect because of his heavy sweating and complete lack of sleep from the night before). Schoolboy error, which resulted in him missing the connecting flight to Birmingham by 30 seconds. After a lot of unnecessary queuing and basic customs difficulty we all got into Birmingham Alabama, out first BBQ stop, safely.

After a few early reducers, we headed over to Moe’s BAR B Q on 29th South Street, Lakeview. Man, this place was just so cool. We ordered 30 buffalo chicken wings to start with.


These were a little bigger than your normal size wings covered with Moe’s special sauce and were some of the best chicken wings we have ever tasted. Smoky, salty, spicy and sweet. We were still pretty hungry, so we ordered a sharing tray. This was another level of awesomeness and a perfect way to taste a little bit of everything.


These guys were well proud to serve us Brits. And rightly so, the highlight was the pulled pork – everyone absolutely loved it, the way these guys chopped and sauced the pork was just phenomenal.

After we had our bellies filled, we hit the bars that were recommended to us by the guys at Moe’s. We found our way to the Tin Roof Bar in Highland Park. None of us had been to a bar like it, this place was crazy open set up and met some really awesome people who supplied us with loads of beer and plenty of shots. We spent most of time talking about how awesome BBQ is, and relayed the Red’s story and what we do in the U.K….after sending Leaton home in an Uber for being sick on himself. Second schoolboy.

Seeing a trend here…

Father’s Day Special

Your Father, who art in BBQ Heaven.

For Father’s Day only, we’re bringing surf and turf to the church of true barbecue.


First, pick from either half or a whole pit-fired lobster, topped with garlic butter and béarnaise sauce. Add an 8 hour smoked beef long and creole-spiced sweet potato fries, and your Father’s Day feed is complete.

We only have a limited amount available, so make sure to book to secure yours:



Half pit-fired lobster, Beef Long and creole-spiced sweet potato fries: 24.95

Full pit-fired lobster, Beef Long and creole-spiced sweet potato fries: 32.95

Brooklyn Fold’Em

Behold, the Brooklyn Fold’em – June’s True Believer Rewards special.

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Snuck away on an unassuming street in Redhook, Brooklyn, lies a barbecue joint that holds its own against any of the famed Texan smokehouses.

Hometown Barbecue is owned by Billy Durney – a one time private security guard for the rich and famous, now turned Pitmaster, and he introduced us to this Mexican taco food hack.

We’ve given it a Red’s twist to bring you June’s special: 14hr smoked USDA Black Angus brisket subtly infused with root beer, mixed with Red’s pulled pork, and stuffed inside warmed flat breads, with a crunchy, tangy salad & chargrilled jalapeños.

Fold’em. Eat’em. Repeat

Available for 7.95 (for 2). Add an extra Fold’em for 3.95.

If you don’t have a True Believer Rewards card, just ask your server who’ll be able to hook you up there and then.

Rugby gives you wings

Searching for meat, beer and pre-game rugby banter before Rhino’s home matches? Think you can beat opposition fans in a hot wing eating challenge and win £50 Gift of Meat card?

Finishing off these smoked wings on the charcoal grill.#lowandslow #chickenwings #barbecue #devilwingsauce - 2015-07-10 11:32:53

You’re in luck. Red’s True Barbecue and Leeds Rhino’s Foundation have teamed up to launch a new regular pre home match event, hosted by Rugby AM.

Kick starting Thursday 12 May at 6pm at Red’s Headingley, 6a Otley Road, Alex Simmons will be joined by former Leeds and Great Britain rugby legend, Roy Dickinson, to chat all things past and present.

Stevie Ward, Jordan Baldwinson, Jy Hitchcocks and Oli Holmes will also take to the mic outside the restaurant to dissect the Rhino’s vs Castleford game before Roy and Simmo judge a hot wings eating challenge between Cas and Rhino’s fans. The event will finish at 6:45pm.

In addition Red’s will bless all match ticket holders will a couple of heavenly deals:

Takeout: £7.50 for an ice-cold beer and 14hr-smoked Pulled Pork S’Wich served straight from its outside smoker.

Families: Kids eat free between 3pm-5pm*

The Leeds Rhino’s Foundation will also be on hand selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the worthwhile charity.

Rugby Wings Challenge, Red’s Headingley, 6a Otley Road, LS6 2AA, fixture list:

– 6pm – 6:45pm / Fri 10th June Rhino’s vs Salford

– 6pm – 6:45pm / Sun 3rd July Rhino’s vs Widnes

– 6pm – 6:45pm / Fri 15th July Rhino’s vs Wigan


Valid only on promotional days. One child can eat for free from the 6.95 Little Red’s Crusaders menu when an adult purchases a main meal. Only one child can eat free per total bill.

Kentucky Black Lamb

Behold, May’s True Believer Rewards special – Kentucky Black Lamb.

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A Yorkshire lamb shank smoked for 6 hours in a sticky Kentucky Black BBQ sauce, glazed and braised over our charcoal pit then shredded and stuffed inside a brioche bun with minted slaw.

Also served as two full shanks with rosemary and garlic wedges.

Grab one before the end of May.


Leeds and Headingley believers. This weekend, we’ll be pitching up at Canal Mills to feed the masses at Garmhaus – a haven for vintage threads. Feast thine eyes on the menu below, and prepare for a meat-fuelled browse.

14 hour, oak smoked pulled pork topped with buttermilk slaw. Both filled inside a brioche bun. Come at us. - 2016-02-10 18:30:33


Pulled Pork S’wich

1/2 a rack of Baby Backs

Cheese & jalapeño sausage

3 x XXXL Buffalo Chicken Wings


Kid’s Hot Dog

There’s a ton of stuff going on throughout the day, and we’ll be serving up low and slow barbecue from 12 ’till 7pm.

Come forth.

Praise be, Tesco

Praise be, we can now welcome Tesco into the supermarket flock.

Following on from last year’s launches into Asda and Sainsbury’s, 4 glorious sauces and 4 epic rubs are now on Tesco shelves up and down the country.

Remember, these are the same rubs and sauces that are used in each of the restaurants, so pimp up your weekly shop and get ready to bless your meat this spring!

For the full lowdown, check the list of available rubs and sauces below. And if you grab one, why not share it with us on Twitter or Instagram?


  • South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce
  • Unholy BBQ Sauce
  • Kansas City BBQ Sauce
  • Devil Wing BBQ Sauce


  • Glorious Pork Rib rub
  • Righteous Beef rub
  • Divine Pulled Pork rub
  • Heavenly Chicken rub


Pre-Aintree Breakfast

Red’s True Barbecue breakfast – it’s a sure thing!

For any of the faithful planning on visiting Aintree this week, we’re opening the gates early with a hearty breakfast menu to line your stomachs for the festivities ahead. We’ll be serving between 9am – 12pm on Thursday 7th, Friday 8th and Saturday 9th April.

Feast thine eyes on the full breakfast menu below, and plan this week’s early worship.

Red’s Bloody Mary & Triple 6 Mary (HOT)

Bloody Pig

Red’s Country Fry

Reds Country Fry

Pulled Pork Pancake

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Hot Iron Waffles

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Red’s Classic Breakfast Burger

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Pit Beans and Poached Eggs 

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Eggs Your Way on Texas Toast

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Free refills on Filter Coffee or Tea (Breakfast/Green).

Red’s House Party

The chapter of Red’s Sheffield is upon us. And we’re opening the gates early to feed the 5,000 (well, sort of…).

From 5pm on 13th of April, we’re giving away FREE, FRESH SMOKED BBQ until our smokers run empty. Add in free beer, sides, live music plus a special guest DJ and you have the house party to end all house parties.

The doors open at 6:30pm, the queue starts whenever you’re ready, and we’ll serve until the last morsel of glorious barbecue leaves the smoker – we advise getting down as early as possible to avoid disappointment!

Entry grants you a 45 minute slot in your new church of true barbecue, and allows you to worship on 1 main, 1 side and 1 drink. Feast thine eyes on the options below.


Pulled Pork S’Wich


 1/2 rack of Baby Back Ribs*

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*Full rack pictured.

4 XXXL Buffalo Wings

Unholy. Devil Wing. Now, welcome Red's Buffalo to your bosom. These BBQ Pit Smoked Wings are yours from 3rd November. - 2015-10-23 16:38:03

Brisket Philly Cheesesteak

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1/4 rack of St. Louis ribs & 1/2 Cheese & Jalapeño Sausage*

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*Full sausage pictured


Buttermilk Slaw

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Skin on Fries

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BBQ Pit Beans

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  1. Can of Pistonhead beer
  2. Any 175ml glass of house wine
  3. Any soft drink (non can)

We’ll have a limited amount of queue jump tickets which will be released over the course of the week – keep your eyes peeled on Facebook and join the event for the latest.


The Good Book: A new chapter

Believers, the Good Book has changed.

We listen to feedback from the flock all year round, and we’ve been busy creating new objects of worship, and resurrecting some Red’s favourites.

Feast thine eyes on some of the changes below.

The Dirty Buffalo Chicken S’wich

A True Believer Rewards special in January, the flock loved it so much we’re stoked to make it a permanent addition to the Good Book.

If you haven’t had tried it, behold. A Southern friend chicken breast, pulled smoked chicken, Pickleback salted candied bacon, Buffalo sauce, South Carolina BBQ sauce, slaw and ranch dressing in a pretzel bun.

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Skirt Steak

A new and improved Skirt Steak has returned to the Good Book after a 6 month absence.

Now pre-smoked for 30 minutes, the 500g Yorkshire steak is then cooked over our charcoal pit. It’s best cooked medium, and comes with a choice of either black peppercorn sauce or garlic butter.

Skirt Steak

Over the last few months, our Pitmasters have also been busy conjuring up new objects of worship – all this hard work is on display in our new Barbecue Trays section.

Every dish is inspired by our annual road trip Pilgrimage to the U.S, and all include sides (2 humble or 1 divine).

Feast your eyes on a selection below – the rest can be found in the Good Book.

St. Louis Ribs & Smoked Sausage

1/4 rack of St. Louis ribs and cheese & jalapeño sausage

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Pitmaster Tray

St. Louis ribs, USDA approved Black Angus brisket, Red’s pulled pork, and smoked cheese & jalapeño sausage.


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Beef Long Rib & Sticky Chicken

Beef rib and 1/4 smoked sticky chicken with Unholy BBQ sauce.

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Baby Back Ribs & Buffalo Wings

1/2 rack of Baby Back ribs and two XXXL Buffalo chicken wings.

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We’ve switched up Humble Sides as well – both BBQ Greens and Sweet Potato Cornbread are back, replacing Green Beans and Cheese & Jalapeño Cornbread.

And finally…

Upgrade to Swine Fries

If skin-on fries just aren’t hitting the spot, you can now pimp them up and upgrade to Swine Fries for 4.00.

Sweet potato and skin-on fries, smoked pork, topped with grilled cheese, chipotle sour cream, spring onion, sliced jalapeños and salsa. Alleluia!

Swine Fries

We always welcome feedback from the faithful, so when you try them out – drop us a tweet.

Behold, the Houston Slopper

Fresh from the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que competition in Houston, Texas, our Pitmasters bring you this little puppy – discovered just after scoring 24/144 in the world with our brisket entry!

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The Houston Slopper is Red’s take on this messy momma. A Red’s single classic bacon cheeseburger, slathered with Philly cheese sauce, topped with housemade brisket chilli and finished with grated cheddar cheese.

Served with v-cut fries to scoop up every last slop.

Available for 11.95 from Tuesday 5th April, exclusively to True Believer Rewards cardholders. If you’re not already a cardholder, just ask a server who’ll get you started there and then.


Day #6 Houston Rodeo: World’s Championship Bar-B-Que

Waking up on competition day was very odd. Breakfast was quiet, in the same way you’d imagine an SAS team sat quietly preparing for their next mission with every member of the team knowing what was at stake but no one actually wanting to discuss it. So, like 6 BBQ assassins we set of to the NRG Stadium bound to either prove ourselves or go home with our tails between our legs having had our asses handed to us on a plate by the world’s best!

The day before, the judges came over to inspect and tag our meats – they do this so there’s never any question over what you’re handing in. The tags are thin metal strips that are security sealed through each entrant’s submission prior to cooking. As we were smoking brisket, ours would be tagged through the thick end known as the ‘point’ – this would have to survive 12 hours of heat, inspection and basting. We’d have to slice each entry in front of the judges with no detail going without scrutiny; this is serious business! If the tag looks like its about to fall out, you have to notify the judges immediately as if it comes out before they get there, you’re out and your chances are over.

When you’re smoking for 12 hours, it certainly doesn’t start at 10am – it’s an all-night commitment. With that in mind, most of our team had been up all night tending the fires and making sure nothing happened to our precious meaty cargo. Our hand in time was high noon, so at 12 o’clock all the hard work was going to be over. If we qualified past the first round we’d have to hand in another sample for round two but this would come from the same brisket we’d already smoked… that means it would have to be held on temp for a few more nerve-wracking hours.


Midday loomed and with only 15 minutes to go the submission team arrived to help us get organised and ready to go. The brisket had been removed from the smoker a few hours beforehand so it could rest – it had been covered and wrapped to keep all those juices basting inside what could be the most important brisket we’d ever smoked. 6 judges means 6 slices, all the same size, all in a row, no splashes of sauce (you can’t just lather in it sauce before it goes or you forfeit your entry). Each slice had to have a good smoke ring, shouldn’t be falling apart, and certainly shouldn’t be dry – it’s not exactly what we’d do in the restaurant but it’s what these guys want so it’s what they were getting!

Praise be, we placed 24th out of 144 in the brisket category at the World's Championship Bar-B-Que, Houston, Texas. Stoked! #redspilgrimage - 2016-02-28 19:52:03

As each slice is lovingly and carefully placed inside the box, the judges watch over our shoulders to ensure all rules are followed and no cheating takes place – unless you do this for yourself you’ll never know the pressure. Once placed and ready, the box is closed and the tape is wrapped around the box a few times to stop anything getting out and more importantly anything else getting in. It’s then the short walk to the judges area before our entry is handed over, logged and with a big “good luck y’all” its over. Then it’s 6 hours of waiting to see how we’ve done, to see if we’re thorough to the next round.


6pm comes and the judges walk the 400 acres arena with the “final round flags” that are handed out to all those who’ve made the grade and are the finalists for the top prizes. As the judges walk towards our tent with the qualifier sign clearly visible in their hands, our hearts were in our mouths. Have we actually done it? Have we come here and shown the the Americans it’s not just fish & chips we do well?


The judges approached, coming closer and closer to our tent…then, with a few inches to go they continued to walk straight past us and onto a tent a little further down the road. Unfortunately we hadn’t qualified. A few seconds of disappointment then turned into an almighty scream as all our team hugged and high-fived – for us we’d competed in the World’s biggest BBQ competition, surrounded by the best of the best in authentic, American BBQ. We were winners in our own right – just being here was the award we’d wanted.

At 7pm the main event started with the announcement of all the winners and runners up, but before that we were lined up back stage and presented to the entire crowd by Robert the Chairman. His announcement that international teams were coming on stage was met with a huge roar from the crowds and as both English teams and the team from Japan walked out in front of the madding crowds the roar increased, the flashes flashed, the Texans waved, and we waved back! Then as quick as we were on, we were off, the real business was about to start – the following few minutes would change lives for those that hadn’t won before or would further cement the skills of those teams who’d won this event in the past!

All in all, we came 24th out of 144 in brisket, and 98th overall out of 430 teams entries in the competition… not bad for a set of drunk Brits hey!

Congratulations to all the winners – you threw down some mighty fine ‘cue! We’re stoked at how the week went and can’t wait to bring everything we’ve learned along the way back to the UK this week.

Day #5 Houston Rodeo: Brisket Testing

It’s practice day. Only 24 hours remain before we submit our brisket for the judges to drool over, weep with joy and enthusiastically masticate on while hopefully awarding us top marks… that’s the general idea anyway!

Today was our last full day to hone our skills with the sole intention of creating the best bark possible. The 4 main things the judges are looking for are:

  • Sight/Texture
  • Smell
  • Tenderness
  • Taste

One thing to remember is that this is competition BBQ, so it can often be a million miles away from what you’d expect to see on your plate in a restaurant. This little hunk of joy has to be babysat to within an inch of its life – our Pitmasters our key, meticulously checking the temperatures to ensure they drop as low as 200F at some points and up to 225F at others. It’s a science that takes some serious practice and can go either way, the difference between a winner and a catastrophic failure can be anything as insignificant an extra few minutes at the wrong temperature to a brisket being badly wrapped in the wrong kind of peach paper. Thankfully this is what we do every day so we’re armed with our thermometers and rolls of peach paper, ready to give this competition what for.


It’s now the turn of our PItmasters to get their hands dirty. John (Headingley), Stuart (Nottingham) and Cristiano (Leeds) have been preparing for this for the last few months – hours of meetings, mountains of test brisket and enough emails to crash even the best servers Microsoft can offer. After all this preparation and pontification we simply decided to do what we do in our restaurants; if we’re going to win anything we want it to be with the product we churn out everyday.


For us, this event is less about the glory and more about what it means to us and our product – to prove that what we do is as authentic as we say it is. We bang on about authenticity constantly and we mean every word we say. To us, making brisket in England that stands up to whats made out here separates us fro the crowd. We’ve done our time travelling the roads of America, racking up over 20,000 miles in an R.V and hammering a path for BBQ fans. We do this so we can create BBQ that’s as close to the best we’ve had out here… and here we are, The World’s Championship Bar-B-Que in Houston, Texas, about to go up against those that have taught us what we know. Finally, the student stands on their own ready to show the teacher just what they’ve learnt!


The first briskets we “threw down” (that’s how it’s known over here) were spot on and just as we’d have hoped. Nice thick bark, the salt and pepper rub had worked a treat with the addition of our signature Red’s rub, plus a few tricks we’ve learnt along the way to get the smoke ring nice and deep. The first few slices were super nice and fatty (perhaps a little too fatty for the UK but just how they like it over here), but we trimmed back the next ones a little more so the fat was nice and equal. As you can imagine, it’s not just a case of throwing a few more in, waiting 20 minutes and pulling it out – this stuff takes 12 hours, so its right back into the smoker with a few more slabs of Nebraska’s best and we head back to the bar!

Ronnie Killen from Killen’s BBQ stopped by to offer some words of advice and to invite us back to his joint on Sunday so we can have a proper tour of the place from the man himself”. Turns out he was trained in London in the 90’s as a cordon bleu chef – he started experimenting with BBQ a long time back but it didn’t work out. He then opened an incredibly successful steakhouse which he still owns now, but his passion and heart remains firmly with the awesome BBQ he puts out every day. This place is literally a who’s who of the BBQ world – we’re small fish in a very big pond over here…. and we love it!

Now, onto the competition!

Day #3 Houston Rodeo: Texans & TV

Start the day as you mean to go on…hungover and semi-regretting the night before. Anyone who knows us will confirm that we’re not big drinkers – we’re more water and acoustic than liquor and rock music so all this consumption is really kicking our arses. Anyone who knows us will also know that’s a big fat lie, but we’re trying to make ourselves feel better OK.


If America has one thing in abundance, it’s stores. Our retail weapon of choice today was Target, a million square feet of crap you don’t need with the odd essential cunningly hidden in there to keep you interested. As we’re entering two competition categories this week, namely brisket and the dutch oven section (no, not that kind…), we needed something quintessentially British to artistically display our Sticky Toffee Pudding dessert upon. Not easy to find when you consider this is Houston, not Leeds. We managed to find a plastic children’s tea set as they’d run out of the fine bone china ones. Not to worry, the addition of a badly crafted Union Jack table cloth will have the judges singing ‘Rule Britannia’ as they tuck into our mini caramelised offerings.


Anyone who’s been to any largescale barbecue competition will know that half the battle is just getting into the bloody place in the first place. Finding your 20ft x 20ft white marquee amongst 400 acres of white marquees is no mean feat – doing this while hungover makes it even more interesting. After 45 minutes of aimlessly trudging around we happened up a man called Harry J Miller – a man who would quickly become our spiritual guide to this maze of meat, a guiding light amongst a sea of portaloos, cowboy hats and smoke filled trailers. He’s also one of the nicest people you could wish to meet, so let’s hope he thinks the same about us at the end of this giant, smokey protein party!

Harry’s one of the event’s longest standing volunteers. 22 years of unpaid and unrivalled commitment, a raft of BBQ awards in his wake and a stetson that could easily house a small family makes him more than qualified to take on the task of chaperoning our motley crew of completion newbies. After introductions of ‘sir’, ‘mam’, ‘thank you’ and ‘Have a nice day’ it’s off to the Committee area to get our credentials checked out. We left with the strict instructions of “Remember ,this is a family event, we’ve seen y’alls YouTooob videos and we don’t want none of that shit here” ringing in our ears!


Before the thronging mass of 300,000 hungry ‘cue fans arrive on Thursday, the organisers, competitors and volunteers throw themselves an all-American party with more booze, food and music than any one person realistically needs in 5 lifetimes. Without blowing our own horns, we seem to have a bit of a celebrity status over here for this event. Anyone and everyone from Fox News, ABC News to a group of blind BBQ enthusiasts (they can smell when it’s ready apparently) have been coming to our tent asking for interviews and selfies. I’m not sure how long that’ll go on for considering Scott told the whole of America that he was wearing MY thong for good luck on live TV… let’s hope they get the British sense of humour.

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Well lubricated and slightly worse for wear, we popped over to the chow hall for a concert with Country & Western legend Johnny Lee (star of the famous 80’s film The Urban Cowboy). 90 minutes of yee haa’s, hat waving and foot stomping later and you’d think we’d have had enough… not so. The atmosphere here is nothing short of amazing, Texans really are the nicest people on earth and without sound sycophantic the “have a nice day y’all” is only a tiny part of how welcoming these people really are.

Robert, the Chairman of the entire event doesnt disappoint either. A strong thick-set Texan, he’s the optimal cowboy from his strong Texan drawl to his wranglers and boots. As a Houston local his entire life, this man has seen it all, tasted it, drank it and in most cases romanced it – he’s become a firm fixture at our tent getting his feet well and truly under the table with the weird English guys “talkin’ bout Brisket all the time”.

The night ended with us back at the tent with Chuck – he’s the guy thats lent us his smoker rig and provided us with all the basics we need to do this. Cooking utensils, trays, liquor… he has something called Crema De Tequila which is easily the tastiest and smoothest way to drink tequila. Too smooth as it goes down way too easily!

Until tomorrow…

Day #2 Houston Rodeo: Killens, Central & Diablo Loco

Day 2 started early…or late depending on wether you’ve jet lag or not, it was early to us.

5am, laid in bed, watching Donald Trump talking absolute nonsense lets you know it wasn’t a dream. It’s real, and you are well and truly in America – the land of the free, the home of the brave and the only place on earth that allows a billionaire who until now was more famous for his ridiculous combover take a decent chance at running the most powerful and at times the greatest country on earth.


To set the scene, its pissing it down. I mean torrential – 4 inches in the first 3 hours of being awake. Couple that with wild winds, freezing temperature, and it’s just what you wanted when all you packed was shorts!

First order of the day was breakfast, quickly followed by a whistle-stop trip to Walmart to get some BBQ supplies and to see if the 14 square miles of American retail nirvana that is a “Walmart Super-Centre” has one tiny thread of fashion help that wasn’t dungarees and checked shirts. Spoiler: it didn’t.

Walmart has many things but the 3 most significant to us are

1) Their selection of BBQ sauces

2) Their selection of jerky

3) Their selection of random items unique only to America.

Today, this was bullets. Bullets on aisle 5, opposite the tennis rackets, jock straps and gum shields. You may think that’s weird, even a bit scary and yeah, it would be if you were in ASDA in Rochdale but here in Texas  it’s an everyday part of life and something that makes this place infinitely amazing. Anyway, more on this tomorrow.


It was then time to get out teeth dug right into what we’re actually here for… BBQ. Award winning BBQ at that. Killen’s BBQ is located about 30 miles from Houston in a cute little 2 horse town called Pearland. It was recently voted one of Americas top 5 BBQ joints and for good reason. The main man Ronnie Killen has started making waves in not only Houston, but the whole of America with his multi-award winning brisket. Luckily for us and the rest of the meat-loving world, he decided to bequeath the gift of bricks and mortar upon our starving soles and opened his first and as yet only smokehouse right there in the very centre of Pearland – a cute little 2 horse town thats now become home to a BBQ stallion of epic proportions.


We were there for brisket and it didn’t disappoint. Why would it, it’s Texas and this is what they do. We use the very same USDA Black Angus brisket back home at Red’s but this was next level – the simple Dalmatian rub of salt & pepper with a surprise sprinkling of sugar added to the sweet, sticky joy that is a well-smoked layer of fat made for a mouthful of pure, beefy goodness. Their side game? Strong.


The beef ribs were also a taste sensation, smoked to perfection, sliced to order and perfectly spiced with a smoke profile that would make your Grandmother weep. It was gobbled down without a thought to manners or etiquette – our Leeds Pitmaster Cristiano proudly proclaiming it was his dish of the day! The big surprise was the pulled pork – a gritty layer of black pepper gave a wonderful feel to this perfectly pulled pork butt. It was pure perfection on a plate, which is a surprise based on the fact that Texas isn’t known for its pork. Pork is and always will be a Southern staple but it seems the Texans are catching up and doing great things with the curly tailed little truffle addicts.


On the way back from Killen’s we noticed another BBQ joint in Central Texas BBQ – the typical Mom and Pop single story joint you see churning thick yet sweet smoke from a chimney sat atop an ageing, outside smoker. It was a proper brick-built smoker, the kind that is decades old but looks like its been there for a century. This one was four and a half decades old to be exact. Established in 1970, you’d think this little institution would have loathed the fact that such a BBQ heavyweight decided to open just across the way, but it seems not – this charred institution holds its own and rightly so.

Unless you’re been to the U.S and you know just how seriously they take their smoked meat, you won’t know that there’s more than enough room for 1 great BBQ joint in any state, city or even two horse town. People will travel if its good.. and this was good! Regardless of the fact we’d just piled about 20 pounds of beautifully smoked meat into our faces, we’re hardcore so we were having another chomp at the bit.


The sausage had that well smoked snap when you bit through the skin, Polish style with a nice smooth consistency. The brisket was fatty, just how it should be, however slightly too dry but with plenty of smoke and flavour. The ribs were on point, with a nice bite and a good bark. Central can happily be described as good BBQ – not as brilliant as Killen’s but still good.

Crawfish boil at Diablo Loco, Richmond. Read tonight's blog for the verdict...#redspilgrimage - 2016-02-24 17:46:39

That night it was crawfish time at Diablo Loco – in season and available, we thought it would be rude not to get a bucket full. 6 kgs of crawfish and 2kgs of salt… or so it seemed. Along with about 100 bottles of Dos Equis and 20 pints of water we pinched the tail and sucked the head off well over a thousand of the little pink bastards. But the salt… just because they’re in season doesn’t mean they’re going to be good.

I’m not sure if it was a method of selling more beer (it worked) but never before have we been mummified, dried and salted like that. A little less boil seasoning next time me thinks! Aside from that, we’d done ourselves proud. A day full of surf, turf and sodium and we were done. At least thats our story and we’re sticking to it – we certainly didn’t go anywhere else afterwards and we certainly still have all our money.

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Day #1 Houston Rodeo: Travel Chaos

So, waking up earlier than a lark at 4am with a flight at 10.30am normally gives you plenty of time to get to the airport… seems not if you’re flying from “Nowhere Near Manchester Airport” and you have to use the car park hell that is the M62.

After getting stuck behind 5 miles of standstill traffic because a commuter had their wing mirror knocked off while they painstakingly removed the sleep from their eyes instead of watching the road, one half of our team arrived a whopping 26 minutes before the flight was due to lift off the tarmac. After a frantic rush from the carpark reminiscent of the opening scenes of Home Alone, myself (James) and the 6ft ginger sweating love child of Kevin Mccallister and his big brother Buzz (Scott Munro) finally fell into seats 19a and 19b on a flight to Atlanta. We were joined by Clint Britz (Executive Chef) and 3 of our heroic Pitmasters – John Beard, Cristiano Andreoli & Stuart Clifford. Finally, we were ready to go kick some BBQ butt. Although Scott’s comment of “I had Chinese Soy Pork last night” confirmed that every second of this trip was going be lived well and truly though the nasal canals…



1 free bar, 2 hangovers and 22 hours of travelling later and we all arrived weary, soaked, sweating and boiled alive into Houston airport via a 2 hour internal flight on what can only be described as the hottest plane EVER to fly the skies. If you’ve ever flown Delta you’ll know that the  blue rinse brigade that make up the air hostesses on these flights are nothing if not unique in their approach to customer service…in that there is none at all. Save for the grunts and dirty looks, the only other form of interaction is when their 60 year old trolly (the youngest thing on the team) interacts with your shoulder, dislocating it on the way up the aisle and just for consistency on the way back as well. Just what you want at the end of a long day.

We’re no different to anyone else when it comes to touching down in the good old US of A. As soon as you’re in the airport its a mad dash over to the closest McDonalds where all your favourites are ordered and laid out in front of you like a huge throbbing greasy junk food buffet. It’s then hurriedly scoffed to the sounds of grunts, belches, squelches and the repeated statement of “tastes just like it does in the UK doesn’t it!’… which never fails to amaze.

For anyone who shares my crack-like addition to Chicken Wings, you’ll know just how hard it is to pass by ‘The Blue Moon Bar’ knowing just how good 36 chicken wings slathered in blue cheese and onions tastes when piled hurriedly into your face. The internal food layering begun and just as with all our previous pilgrimages, this trip is set to be a big fat constipated gastric journey through Houston to the very heart of Texas BBQ.


A 30 mile drive to the hotel in our rented Dodge Challengers and we finally arrived. Bags were dumped, bowels were emptied and we headed back out on the hunt for food 90 minutes later and stuffed to the back teeth with a dodgy-ass Mexican (the food not a person) from Papassitos, we called it a day. All that was left was a walk back to the hotel to fall into bed and mentally prepare for waking up 4.30am with terminal jet lag.

Night y’all!